Establishing Fulfilling Morning Routines
A morning routine helps set the tone for the day. The basic idea of a morning routine is that you wake up at least an hour before your normal wake-up time, and engage in activities that are productive, or that energize and uplift you.
Routines will vary from person to person, as will the length of time.
To begin a morning routine, read the list below, and write down all of the ideas that sound good to you. Don’t feel compelled to choose from all of the categories, and feel free to add your own.
1. Reflection. These activities include meditation, prayer, writing morning pages, reciting affirmations, etc..
2. Exercise. Self-explanatory, but anything that works your body and gets your blood flowing. Activities range from walking, running, yoga, and going to the gym, among others.
3. Education. Self-improvement can fall by the wayside in the daily bustle of life. Taking time in the morning to read a book, or take an online course, or listen to a podcast, or learn a new skill can be very valuable over the long run. Just think, 15 minutes a day of practicing the guitar, or taking an online course on Photoshop, will add up and at the end of the year you will have made a lot of progress.
4. Fuel. Breakfast. Something healthy and nutritious to provide fuel for your day.
5. Your Passion. Whether that is art, or writing, or blogging, or gardening — taking time to do something you love can give your spirit a substantial boost that will sustain you throughout the day.
6. Planning. Sitting down to map out your day as part of your morning routine can dramatically increase your productivity and your ability to achieve your goals and dreams.
Write down how long you want to engage in each activity, and rank each item in order of priority. Then choose the top priority on your list, and set your alarm early enough so that you have time to do that activity in your routine. After you have done the routine for a week, add the next activity to your morning routine and set your alarm even earlier. Rinse and repeat until every activity on your list is in your routine.
Prepare your self for success the night before. Lay out whatever you need for your routine. Go to bed at a decent hour. Set your alarm far enough away from your bed that you have to get up to turn it off. Place something near your alarm that you find inspiring or that will motivate you to begin your routine.
Stick to your morning routine on weekends and holidays. You can vary the routine for weekends and holidays, but keep the energy and flow going with your routine. If you go cold turkey, it can be really hard to get back into the routine on Monday morning. If you do end up skipping a day or two, don’t berate yourself, and don’t give up. A morning routine is not “all or nothing”, it is “some is better than none”.
Be flexible! If your morning routine isn’t working for you and improving the quality of your days, then go ahead and tinker with it. Swap out an activity — maybe you’d rather paint than exercise — go for it. Maybe you don’t want to split up your morning routine into 3-4 activities, maybe you just want to drink coffee and write your book. You have permission to do whatever works for you and inspires you. The morning routine is a tool meant to serve you, not enslave you.
My morning routine is very simple right now, because I can only get up an hour early. I failed miserably at trying to get up 1 hour and 15 minutes early, so 60 minutes it is. I spend 20 minutes writing morning pages, 20 minutes on yoga/walking, and 20 minutes on planning and breakfast.
For more information and inspiration about morning routines, you may want to read Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning. He has a very inspirational story, and his own philosophy about how to structure a morning routine.
Good luck! Let me know about your morning routine in the comments below!